Formed in Mannheim, Germany back in 2005, Black Shape Of Nexus (aka B.SON) deliver to the unsuspecting listener ferocious monolithic Doom, although with their latest release ‘Microbarome Meetings’ they promise a more back to basics droned out ambience to their relentless backdrop of distorted heaviness. With that I caught up with the man behind the electronics Jan, bassist/vocalist Michael & vocalist Malte to delve a little deeper into the dark & tortured world of B.SON.
Hello, hope all is well with Black Shape Of Nexus? Right, let’s start the interview by giving us a brief history of the band and your current releases to date?
JAN: Black Shape of Nexus, in its first outfit, came together in 2005, when Geb, Ralf (both 6-string) and I (electronics) decided to form a band that’s dedicated to slow, low and somewhat spherical soundscapes with a good sense of doom and drone in it. We rehearsed with several guys in the summer of 2005 until Michael (4-string) joined up and a few weeks later our first drummer Marco did. This was our first constant line up. February 2007 Marco left the band and we were rehearsing with various drummers, until Marius got in touch with us. Now he’s the guy sitting behind the drums and we have a stable line-up again.
Our first release was a demo CD-R, which sold out fast, but still is available as download at our our website for free. Next was the selftitled LP, followed by the split LP with our mates Crowskin. Both vinyl releases are compiled on a CD, which is also available as a limited edition with floppy disk like artwork, which is sold at our shows only. Next up is “Microbarome Meetings” 2LP/CD.
Why the name Black Shape of Nexus?
JAN: The name Black Shape Of Nexus is taken from a songtitle of UK band Canvas. There’s not much of a concept behind it. We like the song, the name sounds good, that’s the deal.
You mix electronics and keyboards to your colossal backdrop of nihilistic doom, to me it helps drive the sound which helps give it atmosphere & feel, but what do you think this brings to the bands overall sound and did you always plan on this being a feature, or something that just happened in the rehearsal room, sounded good and so stayed?
JAN: As I can’t play another instruments besides a little bit of drums, being part of B.SON as the guy on the keys was planned. In my opinion the electronics add some depth to some of the songs, as well as some nice gimmicks. Though, top priority is to only play what can be done live, too. So all electronics, that can be heard on record, can also be heard live.
Who writes your lyrics and what subject matters do they cover?
MICHAEL: Malte and I have written “all” the lyrics. Subjects range from Sound, Noise and the experience of it to topics regarding our mind and how it works… or does not.
Can you give us an insight into the equipment Black Shape Of Nexus use?
MICHAEL: Fender Jazz Bass, Big Muff, Ibanez Digital Delay, Ampeg SVT-CL, Ampeg 4x 10″, SunnO))) 2x 15″, Throat w/ cigarettes and a mic.
MALTE: I’m blessed with vocal-chords made of leather. That’s the main part. Beside that i’m using a delay and sometimes a laryngophone instead of a regular microphone.
JAN: I’m using a Microkorg and a Korg Koaspad. In addition a laptop used as sampler. The guitar guys use Sovtek amps, some pedals and their fingers. Our drummer uses the old tour drumset of Turbonegro. Hope that doesn’t affect our sound someday…haha.
All your songs are titled in Roman Numeric format I, II, III, IV and so on, firstly is this the order the songs were written in, why did you decide to use this concept rather than giving them a more ‘standard’ title and will you continue to adopt this for future tracks?
MICHAEL: We believe that song names or printed lyrics take your awareness away from the pure sound. There are lyrics, there could be Song Names. But still, it’s basically the sound what’s important.
The release of your new album ‘Microbarome Meetings’ is due initially on CD at the end of July via Ecocentric Records, then later in the year as a 2xLP on Vendetta Records, firstly, can you tell us what we can expect from you on this new recording and why are 2 different labels releasing it on the 2 different formats?
JAN: Initially the “Microbarome Meetings” were planned as a CD only release on Ecocentric Records. Ecocentric asked us, if we want to cooperate with them sometime and as we like the past stuff done by Ecocentric we agreed. Result is this album. As Vendetta also like the sessions, they proposed to add a vinyl edition of the release. In the end, this will be available as a CD and 2LP. There will be special limited preorder editions of both formats.
With “Microbarome Meetings” we return to where B.SON once started from. The four songs on the album focuss on the ambient/drone side of B.SON, while being improvised one takes. Compared to our other songs released so far, the songs are more diverse in sense of vocoder vocals, spoken words and way more electronics.
It’s also already available as a special edition CD for pre-orders only, a great deal of thought has obviously gone into the packaging so can you tell us how the idea for this limited release was born, what it features and when sold out, will it become available as a ‘standard’ release?
JAN: As we’re suckers for nice artwork, we love special editions. Ecocentric and Vendetta do the same, so there were preorder editions of all our releases so far.
In our opion the same effort that went into songwriting, should go into packaging. As Malte, our singer, is very talented concerning artwork and packaging, there hopefully will be special editions like the floppy disk tour edition of our CD in the future, too.
You’ve also in the past utilised James Plotkin’s mastering skills, how & why did you chose James to master your tracks, what extra do you think he brought to your sound and will you use his services for future recordings?
MICHAEL: I got in contact with James through Myspace and when I realized he’s offering his mastering skills for a lower than reasonable price we were quite happy since our financial funds have been and still are quite limited. But at first, of course, we believed that James would exactly know what we wanted to sound like. Much much more than the average rock music mastering service. And personally spoken I’m amazed by his work, especially on the two tracks released on the split 12″ w/ Crowskin, II and IV.
Your demo is also available as a free download via your website, why did you opt to do this rather than just re-releasing it if it’s still in demand?
MICHAEL: We’re not after the money. We even agree to people uploading and sharing our music. As long as we can manage to pay the gas and the rent for a van we feel quite comfortable. And still, it’s just a crappy demo. It’s no longer represantative for us.
Following on from that question, what are your opinions on file sharing clients such as Soulseek as a way of obtaining free music? Does it worry you that you can find music by Black Shape Of Nexus on them or are you just happy that people take the time to obtain your music and enjoy the listening experience?
MICHAEL: See above.
On to your live shows, what is a typical Black Shape Of Nexus gig like?
MICHAEL: Uh…. ohm…. approx. 45 min. long?
JAN: As Malte screams in one song : « DE-STRUC-TION »…haha. But honestly, we all think that our live shows are way more intensive, than the recorded material was able to capture so far…
You also played the amazing Roadburn Festival in Holland this year, I was actually there and at this point, I’d have loved to comment on how you played an awesome gig, but unfortunately, I saw about 5 mins of you (if that!) as I battled through the doom hungry crowd, so from a bands point of view, how was Roadburn for you, did you enjoy the experience & would you jump at the chance to play again?
MICHAEL: That’s for sure. The crew at Roadburn was maximum professional and maximum friendly. We had an amazing time. Think about free beer, good food, hundreds of nice people and tons of great bands.
And what about the UK, any plans to come over to these grim shores to play?
MICHAEL: We’ll not do that in 2008, but we’re strongly thinking about visiting you guys in the future.
And we’ll bring this interview to a close by asking what your future plans are?
MICHAEL: We have no plans besides touring, writing new songs and keep it going.
Thanks for the interview Jan and please use this space for any final words…
Thanks for your interest! Listen to www.myspace.com/thewalruz
More info on Black Shape Of Nexus at: www.blackshapeofnexus.com
Interviewed by: Lee Edwards
Photo Credit: Julien – www.shootmeagain.com